Do you avoid the dentist at all costs because the very thought makes you break into a cold sweat? You are certainly not alone. Dentophobia is one of the most common fears and affects many people. Most negative associations with dental visits come from experiences we had as children. Unfortunately we may have found that things weren’t explained to us properly and procedures may have hurt more than we were expecting them to. The dentist chair can seem huge as a child and all those instruments look like something from a torture room. As parents now, we can explain all these things to our children but in the past this wasn’t always done as well as it is now.
Studies have shown that the way some people respond to the sound of the drill causes a reaction in the brain that evokes a fear response. It might feel like there is nothing we can do about this instinctive reaction but you’ll be pleased to hear that procedures and treatments have advanced greatly over recent years and the dentist doesn’t have to be the terrifying place you once felt it was. This is reflected in a survey done in 1988 which showed 60% of those questioned felt fear about a dental visit in the UK but a decade later that figure had dropped to 32%.
Drills are much quieter than they used to be, needles are much more effective than they were and if you feel pain during a procedure, the dentist can now offer you a top up of anesthesia. Dental phobia is much more widely recognised and if you let the surgery know how you feel, they will do all they can to help put you at ease. Dentists are much better trained now to recognise nervous patients and some even specialise in seeing very nervous patients. After all, it’s in their best interests as they don’t want to scare off the customers!
It’s very difficult to avoid going for a check up for your entire adult life and so it makes sense to confront your fears and speak to a dentist about how you feel. You can try to avoid sugary food but at some point, it is likely that you will need some sort of dental treatment. If you feel that your anxiety will just be too great then you can also discuss sedation options which are possible at some surgeries.
Imagine the relief that you will feel once you have been and received the treatment that you might have been putting off for months or even years. It can be hard taking that first step, especially if you haven’t been to a dentist for a number of years and you might feel embarrassed by the condition of your teeth but you can be confident that dental practices have changed and are very eager to help you overcome the negative thoughts and feelings that you associate with dental treatment and to see you improve your oral health.